4 April 2020 – Update
My heart is heavy when I think about vulnerable children and young people whose lives have been thrown into further turmoil and uncertainty. COVID-19 may the big defining event of their lives, and how we as a society respond to protect and nurture them, will have long-lasting impacts.
But there is hope.
Humanity often shines most brightly during times of great adversity, and we are witnessing this all around the world, and indeed right here at GYS and in the Glebe community. The GYS team has demonstrated it is up for the challenge and we have seen tremendous generosity and support from our partners, donors and the wider community.
What are we doing?
We have shifted our service focus into the following core areas: food relief; home visits; phone support; and stakeholder collaboration and coordination.
In our efforts to balance risks posed by COVID-19 against the risks faced by those in our community, we have had to make many difficult decisions – these have all been made with careful consideration and staff and stakeholder consultation.
Our current (new) programs and services can be summarised as follows:
- Food relief: This has built on the success of our existing Food Circle Program, led by Eloise Woods. We have partnered with Harris Farm who are providing fresh fruit and vegetables three days a week for around 30 families each day. We are receiving this food in bulk at GYS and a small team is re-packing the food into boxes that are then being delivered to families.
- ‘After Dark’ hot meal and wellbeing check: Under the guidance of Michael Coleman, we are delivering hot meals to over 25 homes each Friday and Saturday night. This enables us to connect with children, young people and families. It is also incentivising young people to stay at home as they look forward to a GYS meal. We are also using this as an opportunity to hand out health information related to COVID-19. In the coming weeks, we will explore other health information, especially related to supporting physical and mental health.
- Home visits: These are undertaken as a ‘check-in’ conversation from a safe distance on the footpath. These are occurring during meal and food relief deliveries, and we are exploring special purpose visits to children and teens. Habil Mawardi and Jeff Hockey are taking the lead in this area, using their existing connections with local children, young people and families to great effect.
- Phone support: This is a key focus of our work and is being driven by Habil Mawardi. Staff are reaching out to our existing clients and known community members to assure them that we are still here to provide assistance, understand their circumstances, and explore future support options. We have also distributed GYS phone numbers through a variety of mechanisms to ensure people have our contact details.
- Public health information: We have been disseminating and sharing Federal, State and Aboriginal Health COVID-19 health information and education materials.
This has included:
- Sponsoring a Facebook post with information for aboriginal communities about how to ‘Keep Mob Safe’ and the locations and contact details for COVID-19 clinics. This post was targeted at people living within 1km of Glebe Point Rd. This post (at the time of writing) has ‘reached’ 3865 people, with 493 people clicking on the information images.
- Placing health information in all fresh and hot food deliveries, reaching over 45 households.
- Liaising with NSW Health to get health resources related to food preparation and distribution and COVID-19.
- Placing posters on the GYS façade to inform the wider public.
- Collaboration and stakeholder coordination:
- Glebe Connected – GYS is taking a lead role in the Glebe community. We are working with the Glebe Connected team to develop a website that lists services and COVID-19 information for local people. While we are still adding content, the website is now live.
- Postcards – GYS has partnered with other agencies to create, print and deliver 2,000 postcards to the Glebe social housing estate. These postcards have information about support options and contact numbers.
- Government – We’ve been staying in touch with our three levels of government. We have had phone conversations with the following elected representatives over the past week: Jess Scully, Deputy Lord Mayor City of Sydney; Jamie Parker, Member for Balmain NSW Government and Tanya Plibersek, Member for Sydney.
- Glebe Police – We have been liaising with the police to ensure they are aware of GYS activities and services.
- City of Sydney and the Department of Communities and Justice – We have been updating our primary funders about our COVID-19 response.
Children and young people schooling at home
GYS is exploring ways to get internet technology into the hands of local school students. This will be a priority for us, especially as we may be in insolation for at least the next 3 months. So far, we have only had a few devices donated. We would love to hear from you if you are able to help.
Summary of our Impact
To capture the scale and impact of our work we have been developing data capture methods and will soon be exploring outcomes measurement tools. However, we can give you an idea of our recent efforts to support the Glebe community.
- Delivered 75 fresh fruit and vegetable boxes to 46 families – reaching over 120 people
- Delivered 60+ hot meals on a Friday and Saturday night to over 20 households
- Provided phone case management support services to 13 clients
- Provided phone advice and support to 17 young people
- Supported 2 young people to enrol in TAFE
- Undertook 43 wellbeing checks and needs assessments via ‘home-visits’
- Secured a partnership with Harris Farm to deliver quality fruit and vegetables for 30 families 3 days a week
- Raised over $3,000 for our Food Relief campaign
- Delivered COVID-19 Health Education materials to over 500 people (via social media and printed material)
I hope this gives you an idea of what we have been focusing on over the past few weeks and how we are adapting to this new reality.
Thank you again for your valued support – we’re in this together and we will do all we can to support those who are most vulnerable in our community through this challenging time.
25 March 2020 – Update
Glebe Youth Service has a vision for a thriving Glebe community and our purpose is to support all young people in our community to reach their full potential. Our programs and services focus on: health, safety, skills, and connection.
We value positivity, perseverance, partnership and community, and we are drawing strength from these values to help us navigate this challenging time and continue to support our community.
We have been reviewing the situation regularly and have modified our service to ensure best practice and minimise risk during these uncertain times.
GYS is operating in line with federal and state health guidelines and directives. These include:
- Strict hygiene measures – handwashing and additional cleaning
- Contact tracing
- Symptom screening staff /clients (phone)
- Physical distancing
- Limiting the number of staff in our office – staff are working from home where possible
Safety and public health is our highest concern at this time. Regrettably, the following services have had to be put on hold:
- All after school group activities including Teen-Time (Drop-in, Girlzone, Boyzone, Middle Ground and Homework Tutoring.
- After Dark
- Client walk-ins
- In-person casework, intake and advocacy
- Events and sports activities
We have now moved to the following essential services:
- Phone & video call support – we are reaching out to regular clients and new clients are welcome to call 955 22 873 to seek support
- Food relief – we are using no-contact methods to continue food distribution
- Outreach support (under certain circumstances and under strict protocols)
We are also working with local services, government, health and other agencies to explore collaborative approaches to best support our local community.
We know it is a tough time and many of you will be feeling the impacts socially, economically and psychologically – we are in uncharted waters as an organisation, a community, and as a nation.
In Glebe, we are experiencing high levels of demand for essential household items such as cleaning products, sanitary products and food. We are also seeking donations of unwanted computers, laptops and smartphones to distribute to school students who do not have a device to work on at home.
If you are able to consider a donation, either of physical items or financially, it would be greatly appreciated. Please use the following link for financial donations or contact us if you have physical items you are able to donate. We understand that this might not be possible at this time – we are thankful for your support to date.
Please stay in touch and stay safe,